Response to last week’s Letter to the Editor

COMMENTARY BY
RYAN CAVISTON

I’m a liberal, or as Rev. Sweeney from the political science department once told me, a borderline socialist. Social issues are particularly important to me; I firmly believe that the government cannot and should not tell a person who they can love, how they can love them and what to do with their reproductive organs. I also believe that when you are down on your luck, you are not a “mooch” or a “bum” and that government resources should be allocated to protect you from starvation. This letter is not just about last week’s appalling letter to the editor, but about a bigger picture.
The mere fact that last week’s letter to the editor even suggested criminal prosecution for the termination of a pregnancy is disturbing. Before continuing, allow me to clarify my position. Do I think abortion is an acceptable form of birth control? No. Do I think abortion can be a tragically necessary medical procedure to save the life of a productive member of society or salvage the future of teenage girl? Yes. Do I think that at a certain point in pregnancy an abortion should not be considered, unless the life of the mother is at risk? Yes. Do I think that the women of America should have safe forms of contraceptives? Absolutely. That being said, let us continue with my own letter to the editor.

Dear Sir,
While I appreciate your activism and dedication to a cause, I have to say, your statements are truly alarming. First and foremost, we are men, you and I. Neither of us has been blessed with the ability to give birth to a child, therefore making us merely bystanders in the care of a pregnant woman. While we are concerned for the health of a mother, it is not our place to tell a woman how to live her life. You mean to tell me, sir, that abortion in every case is wrong? That sounds a bit Rick Santorum-esque of you. What about the tragedy of rape; should a woman “make the best of a bad situation”? Well according to Santorum, yes. Let’s talk about justifiable homicide. Somehow telling a woman who is nearly killed by her pregnancy that she now faces criminal prosecution for saving her own life does not sit well with me. Long story short, I firmly believe that since I lack a uterus, I lack the ability to tell a woman what to do with her body.
I am going to move off the topic of abortion and talk about the bigger picture of Republican, and more importantly, Tea Party, hypocrisy. First, the vast majority of Republicans are not socially backwards folk, not by a long shot. But then there are those in conservative America such as Ted Cruz, Tom Corbett and Rick Santorum, who feel that they are bringing God’s message to us, doing what the Bible says. While I am not a Biblical scholar, I did get an A in Intro to Theology; last I checked, the Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31). It also has one of my favorite quotes, “Let he among you who is without sin be the first to cast a stone” (John 8: 7). It is simple, my friends. Love. Explain to me why gay marriage is wrong. A few months ago I saw a Facebook post that really sums up every problem with America and can be applied to a vast number of situations— “Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being mad at someone for eating a donut because you’re on a diet.” Take marriage out and make it broader— “Claiming that someone else’s lifestyle is against your religion…” It is simply mind-blowing to me that the party of “smaller government” is trying to work its ideologies into our classrooms, doctors’ offices and bedrooms. Even more shocking, this is the same “pro-life” party that is pro-death penalty, anti-welfare, anti-health care and pro-guns in schools .
Friends, you do not have to be religious to understand compassion. Simply put, none of us is perfect. Inasmuch as I see this as a political commentary, I also see this as an opportunity. None of us is perfect, not a single one of us. We must understand that, despite our differences, whether we are black or white, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, we are all people and all equals. How you are remembered will be defined by the relationships you fostered, how you treated your fellow man. Do not be remembered as the one who made hateful statements because someone loves a person of the same sex. Do not be the one who made anti-Islam jokes at the Muslim man trying to find his way in a new country. The sooner we stop being the bystander and come forward to defend our fellow man, the sooner we will love in a much happier society.

Sincerely yours,
Ryan Caviston

Contact the writer:
ryan.caviston@scranton.edu

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